From Publishers Weekly
The secrecy and cover-ups in the priestly pedophilia scandals are a symptom of the Catholic Church's wider suppression of discourse about homosexuality, according to this heartfelt but occasionally tumid book. Gay Catholic theologian Jordan (The Silence of Sodom) argues that the Church "solicits same-sex desire, depends on it, but also denounces it and punishes it." The Church's "ways of silencing disruptive truths" function mainly at the rhetorical level, Jordan feels, where open discussion of the Church and homosexuality gets dismissed by officials as anti-Catholic prejudice or scandal-mongering. In the same vein, Jordan asserts that disputations of homophobic Church doctrines are self-defeating. Instead, gay Catholics should deploy more visceral rhetorical styles-testimonials by gay priests, "provocative analogies" between the Church and secular gay sub-cultures, even satire-to get the Church to acknowledge what Jordan sees as its blatant homoeroticism. The exploration of new discursive modes by gay Catholics can also enrich Church teachings. Gay and lesbian fiction and poetry might clarify Church theology about same-sex unions, while frank consideration of the body (specifically, the genitals) of Christ might lessen "sexual shame" and enlighten Christians about the sanctity of eroticism. Jordan's call for truth-telling about the Church's relationship with homosexuality is provocative, but his insistence that language and rhetorical style matter more than Church doctrine or governance distances him from what many feel are the most crucial issues in that debate. His own discursive style, combining theology with critical theory, wavers between elegance and abstruseness. This feels more like a series of meditations (the book is based on lectures Jordan delivered) than a volume likely to spark productive debate.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Sure to be controversial . . . [Telling Truths in Church
] is about how church people speak about sex in the church; it is about what it means to tell the truth, and how to go about the vulnerable act of truth-telling when your topic is something as intimate as sex. --Lauren F. Winner, Washington Post Book World
"This is a major contribution to the telling of truth and truths. Jordan's analysis lays bare the fear and anxiety behind the silence and spins of church authorities; it is a profound and provocative book." --Donald Cozzens, author of Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church and The Changing Face of the Priesthood.
"[A] profound normative theological statement, of what incarnational faith must entail . . . [Telling Truths in Church
] is well read as a spiritual guide to theologians and other Christians who still believe there is a point to Christian speech." --Beverly Wildung Harrison, Conscience
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